FROM STAFF REPORTS
MARBLE FALLS — Lace up those running shoes, grab your swim trunks and check the air in your bicycle tires because the Marble Falls Triathlon is speeding this way.
The annual event, which draws several hundred athletes to Marble Falls, takes off from Lakeside Park, 307 Buena Vista Drive, at 7 a.m. July 20. The event starts with a swim in Lake Marble Falls and also features cycling and running.
The triathlon actually offers two races: an intermediate and a sprint competition.
The intermediate is definitely the more challenging of the two with its longer course. The athletes start with a one-kilometer swim, followed by a 23-mile bike ride and topped off with a 4.4-mile run.
Though newbies can jump right into the sport with the intermediate distance, it’s typically a length in which more experienced triathletes compete. The distance isn’t the only thing that makes this such a challenging course. It’s also the terrain.
The bike ride takes competitors out of Marble Falls and south on U.S. 281 to Texas 71 before heading west. Along this route, competitors face some challenging hills, ones they’ll also “enjoy” during their return to Marble Falls.
Yeah, it’s the “one with the hills.”
The sprint triathlon features a 500-meter swim, a 12-mile bike ride and a two-mile run.
It’s a great distance for those just testing the waters in the sport or people who don’t necessarily have the time to train for the longer distances.
Now, while the intermediate athletes face a series of tough hills on the trip out Texas 71 and back, the sprint competitors only face one of those hills. The sprint bike course takes athletes south out of Marble Falls on U.S. 281, but they turn and head back at the Texas 71 intersection.
Officials said the bike section should be clear by mid- to late morning July 20, so it shouldn’t impede traffic much. But officials are asking drivers and residents to be aware of bike traffic on U.S. 281 and Texas 71 south of Marble Falls.
All the transitions (switching from swim to bike, bike to run) occur in Lakeside Park.
After the bike ride, the athletes will run a course from Lakeside Park through Johnson Park and the Pecan Valley area of Marble Falls before returning to the finish line between the two parks.
The competition draws athletes from across Texas. To ensure a successful triathlon, organizers rely a lot on volunteers.
And volunteers don’t need any triathlon experience themselves. They just have to be willing to help.
Go to marblefallstri.com for more information or to learn how to volunteer.